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Philip Wadler

Invited Speaker: Philip Wadler

Thursday, Oct. 26 from 08:30 to 10:00

Dr. Philip Wadler

Faith, Evolution, and Programming Languages: from Haskell to Java to Links

Faith and evolution provide complementary--and sometimes conflicting--models of the world, and they also can model the adoption of programming languages. Adherents of competing paradigms, such as functional and object-oriented programming, often appear motivated by faith. Families of related languages, such as C, C++, Java, and C#, may arise from pressures of evolution. As designers of languages, adoption rates provide us with scientific data, but the belief that elegant designs are better is a matter of faith.

This talk traces one concept, second-order quantification, from its inception in the symbolic logic of Frege through to the generic features introduced in Java 5, touching on features of faith and evolution. The remarkable correspondence between natural deduction and functional programming informed the design of type classes in Haskell. Generics in Java evolved directly from Haskell type classes, and are designed to support evolution from legacy code to generic code. Links, a successor to Haskell aimed at AJAX-style three-tier web applications, aims to reconcile some of the conflict between dynamic and static approaches to typing.

Biography: Philip Wadler is Professor of Theoretical Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh. He holds a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Fellowship and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Previously, he worked or studied at Avaya Labs, Bell Labs, Glasgow, Chalmers, Oxford, CMU, Xerox Parc, and Stanford, and has visited as a guest professor in Paris, Sydney, and Copenhagen.

Prof. Wadler appears at position 70 on Citeseer's list of most-cited authors in computer science; is a winner of the POPL Most Influential Paper Award; and sits on the ACM Sigplan Executive Committee. He contributed to the designs of Haskell, Java, and XQuery, and is a co-author of XQuery from the Experts (Addison Wesley, 2004) and Generics and Collections in Java (O'Reilly, forthcoming). He has delivered invited talks in locations ranging from Aizu to Zurich.


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